EMILY DONAHOE AS MARY JANE PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
Parenting is never easy although it can be the most rewarding task a person can do. Being mom and dad rolled into one is an even more daunting challenge. Now imagine that your child is born prematurely and diagnosed with a litany of medical problems and you are the sole caregiver. Come meet Mary Jane who calmly and with dedicated love cares for her precious son Alex in Yale Repertory Theatre’s world premiere drama "Mary Jane” by Amy Herzog. The window into their lives will stay open until Saturday, May 20.Caring for her son is a 24/7 365 days a year responsibility and it takes a village to perform all the daily tasks that are required. Now two and a half years old, Alex dominates his mother’s life, especially since his dad is no longer in the picture. Three shifts of nurses enter their tiny apartment to lend support and technical assistance. Visitors include nurse Sherry (Shona Tucker), Sherry’s niece Amelia (Vella Lovell), new mom Brianne (Miriam Silverman) and building superintendent Ruthie (Kathleen Chalfant). Alex’s mom is a smiling, positive, even keeled Emily Donahoe who, like a steel magnolia lady, deals with the daily crises with even tempered ease.That steel magnolia spine threatens to bend and break when Alex suffers a Grand Mal seizure and pneumonia and Mary Jane finds herself living in the hospital for seven weeks and counting. There her world is enhanced by meetings with another mom with a sick child Chaya (Miriam Silverman), a music therapist Kat (Vella Lovell), Alex’s doctor (Shona Tucker) and a grief counselor Tenkei (Kathleen Chalfant). Trying to keep her equilibrium in the face of so many medical obstacles is a tremendous challenge despite the community of women who try to protect her. Mary Jane’s perch on her rock of steadiness is in danger of splintering into a thousand pieces.This emotionally challenging new work is directed with compassion by Anne Kauffman. For tickets ($12-99), call the Yale Rep. 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org. Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m, Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.Come hold Mary Jane’s hand as you try to protect her heart, and your own, in this sensitive, compassionate story of motherly love.